("Let's table the discussion" is a new Adath Israel Shul initiative where a story or thought is presented in order to stimulate exciting and constructive discussion around our Shabbos table or among friends and children.)
In what was billed as “ A Cannot Miss Event”, the promoters encouraged as wide a following as possible. There it was, the opportunity to hear the best speakers in the United States today sound off on the key, critical issue of the day – “What this country means to you and me.” Tickets were selling like wildfire. Television networks jockeyed for exclusive rights. In the end, the entire country (and many people offshore), settled in for a night that was set to be unforgettable.
As the first speaker ascended the podium, he did not disappoint. Using flair and flamboyance, energy and even technology (as backup), he presented a masterful oration. The crowd was understandably impressed. They could not wait for more.
The second speaker rose and she too, took to the podium and with the same gusto and the same energy, she presented the exact same presentation.
Word for word.
With the same flair and flamboyance and the same energy and technology (as a backup).
The people watched in stunned silence. Until of course the third speaker did it again – the energy, the gusto, the flair and the flamboyance – everything was exactly the same. By the time all the speeches were done, the same presentation had been repeated 5 times and instead of being inspired, the now weary crowd went home bewildered and perplexed as to what had taken place.
Rav Zev Greenwald explains that Hashem specifically did not make man in the exact same image or mold as another person. Chazal tell us that in the same way that people look different, their minds work differently too. We differ in our talents, our wants, our desires, our interests and our means. In fact, the only thing that we can truly share completely is our ultimate goal in life – the desire to serve Hashem. Yet, even in this common goal, our service of Hashem will be different – it will follow a prescribed plan dictated in, and by, the Torah but the expression of one will be differently stressed than the expression of another. Rav Greenwald argues that if this were not the case, the same service would become stale not only to us but to Hashem as well.
Diversity within a Halachically guided and grounded Judaism is desired by Hashem as it helps us mold our individuality into a great nation wherein each individual finds his or her proper place.
What do YOU see as YOUR unique contribution to Am Yisrael and serving Hashem in the world at large?
How does YOUR contribution fit your ultimate goal of serving Hashem?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and community.